Rio Grande Foundation v. Oliver: Protecting Free Speech & Privacy in New Mexico

Rio Grande Foundation v. Oliver

In New Mexico, if you want to support a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that works on issues, such as free speech or the environment, you must be willing to forfeit your privacy. State law requires all nonprofit issue-advocacy groups to report their donors to the government. The donors are then put on a government list and have their information published to a public website. 

New Mexico law also requires these advocacy organizations to identify themselves as the sponsors on public messages and register as political committees, even though they’re talking about issues, not political campaigns. 

Every American has the constitutional right to support issues they believe in without fear of harassment and retribution for their views, but New Mexico’s donor disclosure requirements effectively negate those rights.

By naming and shaming individuals who support different viewpoints, this law effectively prevents everyday Americans from advocating for causes they believe in and favors powerful, entrenched political interests. 


To stop this threat to free speech, the Liberty Justice Center filed a lawsuit, Rio Grande Foundation et al. v. Oliver, in December 2019 on behalf of New Mexico-based Rio Grande Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, and the Illinois Opportunity Project, a 501(c)4 issue advocacy group. Rio Grande Foundation et al. v. Oliver was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, Santa Fe Division.


Complaint 12/13/2019

Appellants Brief 03/08/2022

Appellate Reply 05/28/2022

Memorandum Opinion and Order 12/09/2022

Tenth District Decision 01/18/2023

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